The San Luis Obispo, Calif., County Planning Commission last week unanimously approved a 130-space residential vehicle resort north of Paso Robles that its owners said would attract an upscale clientele.
The San Luis Obispo Tribune reported that the resort, described by backer Bruce Jordan as “state of the art,” is targeted for the site of the former Almond Blossom restaurant, which closed in 2008.
The developer, Siempre Adelante LLC, intends to convert an existing building into a clubhouse, as well as add a building that would incorporate an office, convenience market, laundry facility, exercise room and restroom. The resort also would include two swimming pools, a playground and a barbecue area.
Jordan said the park will include 130 RV spaces with full hookups to include electrical, water, sewer and Internet connections. It will have 19 pull-through spaces and 111 pull-in spaces. Jordan said he expects the park to draw upscale, semi-retired people, “mostly in their 50’s, whose average stay is likely to be three and a half days.”
That description of the campers drew concern from some nearby residents, who said visitors could include tourists visiting local wineries who might drive back to the resort while intoxicated.
Others said they worried about traffic at the intersection, as well as water. Commissioners said the developer and planning staff had addressed those worries adequately.
Representatives from BowStern, an integrated marketing firm specializing in the RV industry, released today (Jan. 4) its recent study examining the RV real estate industry performance in 2011.
The study looked at sales from 17 RV resorts representing seven states, which tracked average number of lots sold, price points and square footage for 2011. The numbers show a strong rebound in 2011 compared to other segments of the real estate market.
Recreational vehicle resort real estate sales appear to have positively spiked in 2011. According to self-reported data from 17 properties across the nation, year-end sales are up significantly from 2010. A quick snapshot of this market showed:
• Reporting properties sold an average of 27 sites in 2011. This reflects an average of 44.75% increase among reporting properties.
• The average size of the sites was 3,500 square feet with the smallest reported site at 1,200 square feet and the largest site at 5,000 square feet.
• The average price of the sites was $130,593 with the lowest reported price at $42,000 and the highest price at $419,000. Sales prices were not up significantly from 2010.
The data, which includes new construction as well as resales, represents a wide range of product from new resorts such as Heritage and Bella Terra on the Gulf Coast in Alabama to long-established projects such as Pelican Lake in Naples, Fla., and Motorcoach Country Club in Indio, Calif.
“From a marketing perspective we are seeing an increase in inquiries across the board,” said Tom Derzypolski, president at BowStern. “Response to print, online, social media and direct mail indicate the consumer is starting to really explore ownership opportunities. The difference is that the period of time between first inquiry and closing is taking a little longer than we experienced in the years prior to the current economic downturn.”
Baby Boomers by an overwhelming majority represent those who purchased in 2011.
“Boomers took a hit to their investment portfolio, but I believe they have decided it’s time to get out there and live again. These folks are not just going to sit in their rocking chair and get older – these are the folks that put a man on the moon and went to Woodstock, you can’t slow them down,” said Derzypolski.
While BowStern’s expertise is in the world of integrated marketing, they conducted several focus groups at the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) convention last August to better gauge the mindset of the consumer. In addition, they completed their online consumer survey in December. The survey can be viewed at www.RVSurvey2011.com. This recent real estate study was an attempt to gather information on behalf of their clients.
“We have seen a nice uptick in 2011,” said Tripp Keber, COO Bella Terra Realty Holdings LLC. “Our properties weathered 2010 and look to have had a really nice 2011. Being able to see the collective trends of the marketplace is helpful in making business and marketing decisions across the board. The kind of information BowStern provides is a helpful snapshot for us and other properties across the nation.”
The self-reporting study was not paid for or underwritten by any organization and was an attempt to gather data on this niche real estate segment. To learn more about BowStern please visit: www.BowStern.com.
The Wilderness RV Park Estates, a 234-site condominium RV park in Silver Springs, Fla., near Ocala, will be auctioned off in a foreclosure sale starting at 1 p.m. EST on Sept. 21.
According to a news release, the park is located at 10313 East Highway 40 and is adjacent to the Ocala National Forest and has access to the Ocklawaha River.
The amenities sit on 22 acres and include a restaurant, convenience store, social hall, sales office, four log cabins remodeled as a bath house, fitness room, recreation game facility, laundry facility and a community pool/hot tub. Four park models, golf carts and mowing equipment are included with the sale.
The property is located along the Florida Greenway and is less than a mile from the entrance of the 383,000-acre Ocala National Forest, a mile to the Silver River State Park and five miles from Ocala.
An inspection of the property may be made on Sept. 9, starting at 11 a.m.
For more information contact David Bradshaw of Tranzon Driggers, (877) 374-4437, firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.rvresortauction.com or click here.
Campers now have a new year-round vacation spot in the Sunshine Valley near Hope, British Columbia.
Holiday Trails Resorts has opened a new 20-acre RV resort with 10 deluxe camping cabins. There are 110 RV sites which have 50-amp electrical service, water and fire pits. The one- and two-bedroom chalets are fully furnished with electricity, plumbing, a wood stove and full kitchen, the Hope Standard reported.
“The Sunshine Valley is a unique area and we wanted to be a destination,” said owner Kevin Demers. “It’s just a super deluxe resort. The RVers of today, but more importantly the RVers of tomorrow, want all the bells and whistles when they stop at an RV resort. All of that is going to be provided to them.”
The facility cost over $5 million to build and offers an on-site convenience store, laundromat, 17,000-square-foot clubhouse and fitness center. There are also several hot tubs and indoor and outdoor pools.
Nearby Manning Provincial Park offers seasonal skiing, snowboarding and hiking. ATV trails directly accessible from the resort turn into snowmobile trails in the winter. In addition, waterways provide swimming and canoeing throughout the summer and natural skating rinks in the winter.
A grand opening celebration is planned this Saturday (July 23) for Sunshine Valley RV Resort & Cabins, from 2-4 p.m. There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony, facility tours, and refreshments and sandwiches.
Holiday Trails Resorts owns six RV resorts in British Columbia two in Alberta and one in Washington state. The company was also recently awarded the contract to operate Coquihalla Campground in Hope.
Federal tax issues are taking the forefront for small businesses, including campgrounds and RV resorts, according to consultant David Gorin, former CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
“The last few years, you can imagine most of the activity here in Washington has been centered around defense, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terrorism,” Gorin told state campground leaders attending ARVC’s 2009 National Issues Conference last week in Washington, D.C. “While all that continues … tax issues are becoming more and more important, and they affect small business in a lot of ways.”
Gorin said the IRS, in particular, is attempting to close what is known as the “tax gap” — the amount of taxes the IRS expects to receive each year versus what is taxpayers actually send to the government.
“(The IRS) claims a good part of that gap is directly related to small businessmen … who under-report income and over-report their expenses,” said Gorin, who operates David Gorin and Associates and oversees the Best Parks in America marketing group.
“As you deal with large deficits and the need to generate more and more revenue to cover all the initiatives that are on the table now being paid by stimulus money going forward, how do we raise tax revenue? One of the ways, of course, is to increase taxes. The other way is to reduce the tax gap, and make sure there is increased compliance with tax laws.”
Besides increasing the tax burden, IRS efforts to close the tax gap will result in more paperwork, he said.
“There are some very scary discussions about what they are planning on doing to track down the tax-gap individuals, Gorin said. “It has to do with huge amounts of paperwork for small businesses, particularly.
“Instead of giving (IRS form) 1099s just for people who work for you, you will have to give 1099s to everyone that you make payments to, no matter who it is. Having, for example, FedEx send to you a 1099 for every nickel you spend with them, they are then going to report that to the government so there are ways to match expenses to reports.
“There are a lot of things going on in that area. We really have to be careful.”
Private campgrounds and RV resorts are collectively moving ahead with plans to spend millions of dollars in capital improvement projects this year, despite the recession, according to private park operators and industry officials.
“The recession is temporary, and most campground and RV resort operators believe that it behooves them to move forward with their improvement plans if they want to remain competitive with other travel and tourism options,” said Linda Profaizer, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
As a result, she stated in a news release, many private park operators are investing in new facilities and amenities this year, which include everything from cabins and yurts to miniature golf courses, skate parks and waterslides.
The push by private park operators to improve their facilities has been going on for many years. In fact, three-quarters of private park owners made an average of $147,508 in improvements to their parks in 2007, according to a national survey by the Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Profaizer cautioned that not every park is investing in capital improvements this year, and some may hold until later this year until they get a better sense of where the economy is heading.
Some resort chains are also upgrading facilities, including Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties which spent more than $13 million in improvements to its 170 RV resorts last year.
“We expect to continue to demonstrate to our customers that we care about our properties by investing in them,” said Ellen Kelleher, ELS’s executive vice president of property management, adding that ELS will spend millions of dollars again in improvements this year.
After about two years working with the recreational vehicle industry, gaining contacts and experience, Tallahassee, Fla.-based marketing firm Kidd Group decided it was time to form a new division.
Kidd RV Resort Consulting officially launched in February and will cater to the specific audiences and environment of the RV business, according to Tallahassee.com.
“Our success can be attributed to 30 years of marketing experience amid government initiatives, transportation, real estate, technology, finance and health care, combined with tested and proven principles and excellent customer service to the RV industry,” said Jerry Kidd, president of the Kidd Group.
While RV unit sales may have slowed in some sectors of the business, Kidd account manager Allison Fogt said that hasn’t kept people from hitting the road. Many RV parks are at capacity this winter and spikes in fuel prices have not been a deterrent to travel.
Kidd finds business potential in the RV resorts, the manufacturers and in the associations of RV owners who have an affinity for a certain brand of motorhome or camper. Often, the groups organize their own events and trips.
“Part of our expertise is understanding these audiences,” Fogt said.
RV companies typically market themselves through targeted trade publications and exhibits at trade shows. One such event is this week’s 81st Annual Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) International Convention in Perry, Ga.
Relationship building is important, Fogt added. That includes bringing partners together who can sponsor special promotions or offers.
“We kind of use that leverage to help our clients and creating those marketing opportunities.”